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3g-iphoneIn a month where it was announced that Apple had bought the mobile advertising business Quattro Wireless (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/056692e4-fa29-11de-beed-00144feab49a.html), and Google launched its first smartphone - the Nexus One - we’re discussing just what the future holds for the world of mobile advertising.

The purchase of the mobile advertising business, Quattro Wireless, represents a major move into advertising by Apple. The move by the software and hardware giant certainly is very interesting, and one thatEpiphany , and no doubt others in the digital marketing industry, have paid close attention to. The reason for that interest? It follows on from another interesting purchase made by Google back in December for a major competitor of Quattro Wireless in the mobile advertising business, a company called AdMob.

So in the space of a couple of months, both Google and now Apple have both made moves to enter the mobile advertising industries. Very interesting indeed! But why have they is the ultimate question? Clearly they both see the mobile advertising market as key areas for the future and want to be at the forefront of it, hence these purchases.

There really is no question that the mobile advertising market is already huge and continues to grow at a rapid pace . In recent research carried out by Nielsen, it was discovered that the number of Britons using Mobile Internet increased by 1.6 million to 10.4 million in Q3 2009 from 8.8 million in Q2 2009. Additionally, the number of people in the UK using smartphones increased 10% between Q2 and Q3 2009 from 5.6 million to 6.2 million. (http://www.nielsen-online.com/pr/pr_091110_uk.pdf)

With smartphones allowing users to browse websites in the same way they would with traditional PCs and sales of these types of handsets on the rise, it makes a lot of sense for companies such as Google and Apple to strive to be strong in this market. As the results above prove, the smartphone market is growing, and inevitably is only going to get bigger until the majority of UK phone users own a device of this type.

Many could argue that Apple are the core driving force behind the smartphone market growth ever since their launch of the original iPhone in 2007. The iPhone revolutionised the mobile phone market, allowing users to do things with a phone that many couldn’t have dreamed of a few years back. With subsequent launches of the iPhone 3G and the latest model, the iPhone 3GS, Apples share of the smartphone market continues to grow even bigger.

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This has also seen rival competitors ‘up their game’ so to speak and a week doesn’t seem to go by recently without a brand new state of the art handset hitting the shelves from alternative manufacturers.

Speaking of which, this brings us on nicely to discussing Google’s new Nexus One. Google’s Android software, which will power the Nexus One, has been previously used by a number of other manufacturers to power their handsets, but the Nexus One represents Google’s first attempt at a handset themselves.

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So here we have two massive business rivals; Google, renowned for its experience and success in search-based internet advertising; and the other, Apple, renowned for its experience and success in the smartphone market. In the space of a week, Apple announces it has taken steps to enter the internet advertising market (albeit the Mobile niche), and Google announces it is entering the smartphone market.

It is seen by many in the industry as a sign of a budding rivalry between the two companies, and a key indication of how important both consider mobile advertising to be. Google has clearly brought out its own handset in an attempt to obtain greater direct control over the mobile advertising market. Apple, on the other side of the fence, has seen the potential in mobile advertising due to the success of the iPhone, and has now decided it wants a slice of the pie itself.

The following quotes from Paran Johar, Chief marketing officer of mobile ad network Jumptap (a rival of both AdMob and Quattro Wireless), sums up the situation quite nicely and makes the prospects for 2010 altogether, rather interesting:

"If there is any doubt that 2010 is the year of Mobile Advertising, Apple just cleared up any speculation. For pessimists who thought the Google acquisition of Admob was a fluke, this reinforces that mobile advertising is here to stay." "Handset manufacturers, software providers, infrastructure vendors, and carriers are all looking to connect the dots and carve out a share of what will be the primary access point of the Internet in five years." [source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8442712.stm, January 2010]